Friday, July 27, 2012

Self-Publishing On Google Play Books - Part 2

UPDATE: Google has revamped their system, making it more user friendly. Some of the points below may no longer apply to their system.

Last week, I wrote a post outlining some of the pros and cons of self-publishing on Google Play Books. This week, I'm going to explain their system and make it easy for you to understand.

Unlike other self-publishing platforms, Google's has a couple of confusing steps that lead to self-publishing with them. They are as follows:

  1. Add your book(s) to the Preview Program

  2. Add your book(s) for sale on Google Books.

The above steps are now joined together and in a better user interface.

Now, being that there are only two main steps above, you would think it is easy. But for some reason it isn't. Below are more detailed explanations on each of the listed items. (Note: This information assumes you have an EPUB file and ISBN ready for your book. If not, the process becomes more complicated.)

1. Add Books to the Preview Program

First, you need to add your books into the Preview Program. You can do this by going to The Preview Program puts your book on Google for people to preview. You can specify how much they can see of the book, going all the way up to 100%. The lowest setting is 20%.

The Preview Program could generate income for you, even if you don't sell a book. This part of the system is ad based. Any clicks on ads while someone browses the preview of your books will earn money. Granted, they are pennies, but it's a way to earn money on your books that others don't offer.

Under the "Manage Books" section of the Preview Program tab click "Add Book" or "Add Multiple Books". This will bring up a screen where you enter your book's ISBN, Title, Author, and Territories where you have rights to the book.

When you are finished entering your book(s) information, click where it says "Send Books". This will bring you to a new screen. You have two options here. 1) You can upload the files for you book, following the naming instructions listed on the page or 2) You can download software for uploading your books. Use option two if you have a lot of books. Upload your books and for now you are done.

It takes one or two days before the system shows that your books have been uploaded and are processing. Until then, Google's site may say the book is "New" and they have yet to receive your books. Don't worry. This lag is normal. Eventually the status of the books will say "Processing". From there, it will be two to three more days before it says the books are "Live". Note: If your book does not go "Live" there may be a problem with the EPUB you uploaded. Be sure to run your EPUB through EPUB Check to verify it meets the proper standards. If it does, and the book still doesn't go "Live", try uploading it through the "Google eBooks" tab, click "Manage eBooks", then click the "Pencil" icon next to the book. From there go to "File Updates", choose your file (naming it by your ISBN number), and upload your EPUB.

When the books are "Live", they are available for preview by people browsing the net or if you give people the link. Also, you are now able to move onto step two.

2. Add your books for sale on Google eBooks

The first thing you'll want to do is click on the "Google eBooks" tab. This is separate from the "Preview Program" tab. I personally think separating these two items is what makes things so confusing.

Under default settings, you need to specify different options you want for your books for the different countries where you will sell it. Again, these are defaults. You can go into each individual book and adjust the settings for them. But if you setup your defaults to what you will usually use, it will save you time in the future if you publish more books.

Click "Manage eBooks". This will list all your books that you can make available for sale on Google Books. Next, click the pencil icon to the left of the book you want to work on. This will bring up the information for the book. Below it will be each territory you can sell the book. Check the box that says "Enable  Google eBooks sales for this title." If you do not do this it will not be available on Google Play. You will need to do this for every territory where you want to sell the book.

After checking the box, enter the price for that territory. If you do not enter a price, then Google will determine the cost. I don't know what price they will pick or how they determine it, so you're better off entering a price.

At this point you are done. It will take 1-2 days for your book to show up on Google Play.

While not outlined above, be sure to set up payment information for your account. You need to do this for "Ad Payments" and "eBook Payments" under the "Account Settings" tab. When you set it up for direct deposit, Google will make a small deposit (less than $1 US) into your bank account. You'll need to come back and enter that amount as a way to verify you own it.

Hopefully the above helps you have a better understanding of Google's self-publishing platform. Of course, I've simplified this as there are other features and settings to use. But I wanted to outline the basics so you at least understand how it works.

Now check this out. Here are my books currently published on Google Play:

Any other suggestions, tips, or questions? Put them in the comments below and I will help to the best of my ability.